Hard Water Woes: Why Rinse Aids Are Worth a Second Look
If you live in an area with hard water then you’ve probably experienced spotty, filmy dishes and glassware that your poor dishwasher just can’t seem to clear up. Those cloudy spots are the result of minerals (usually calcium or magnesium carbonates), that are left behind by water droplets as they dry.
But before you blame your dishwasher, you may want to try a rinse aid. A rinse aid works by reducing the water’s surface tension so that it flows off your dishes in thin sheets, instead of forming lingering droplets that leave spots as they dry.
Since a rinse aid helps the water slide off more quickly, your dishes dry faster. In fact, a rinse aid could also be thought of as a drying aid!
Are All Rinse Aids Alike?
Glad you asked; no, they are not. According to the Environmental Working Group, many typical rinse aids contain ingredients that may pose “significant” or “likely” hazards to health or the environment, such as:
- Sodium tripolyphosphate
This ingredient helps “soften” hard water by neutralizing acidity. But like other phosphates it can be ecotoxic, polluting lakes and poisoning aquatic life as it finds its way into waterways.
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI)
This preservative keeps bacteria and fungi away, but it’s been associated with allergic reactions in skin care products. In fact, it’s now reserved for use in rinse-off products like shampoos, conditioners and hand soaps, as well as in the manufacture of detergents, paints and glue.
- Antiredeposition agents
These additives help prevent soil from resettling on a surface. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) gives them an “F” rating, stating that they “may contain ingredients with potential for biodegradation; skin irritation/allergies/damage; general systemic/organ effects.”
- Troclosene sodium, dihydrate
This cleansing agent and disinfectant also received an “F” rating from EWG, which cited “evidence of skin irritation/allergies/damage” as well as moderate concern for chronic and acute aquatic toxicity.
Most often used in chemical sunscreens, at least one rinse aid also contains this photostabilizing agent. Unfortunately, EWG cites oxybenzone as having “evidence of developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects.”
Am I Stuck with Spotty Dishes?
With questionable ingredients like these in some popular rinse aids, you may think the better option is to just put up with spotty glasses and cups. Think again! Norwex’s new Rinse Aid gets your glasses, plates and cups sparkly even in the hardest water. Best of all its biodegradable, plant-based ingredients deliver spot-free dishes every time with no harmful residues to pollute the ecosystem (or wind up in your family’s food)!
Not Sure If You Have Hard Water?
If your soaps, shampoos and detergents do not lather well it could be due to hard water. Another way to tell is if you see calcium deposits (aka limescale) on faucets, shower doors or even small appliances like coffeemakers and teapots. Also, unusually high energy bills can point to hard water, as limescale can clog your water-heating system, making it less efficient.
- If You Want Drier Dishes Use A Dishwasher Rinse Aid
- EWG - SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE
- What is the Usage of Sodium Tripolyphosphate
- How to Determine If You Have Hard Water
- The Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects of Methylchloroisothiazolinone
- EWG - Methylchloroisothiazolinone
- EWG - Troclosene Sodium Dihydrate
- EWG - Oxybenzone
- EWG - Antiredeposition Agent